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Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
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Subject 40-26-1 GEORGIA AGRICULTURAL COMMODITY COMMISSIONS ADMINISTRATIVE RULES

Rule 40-26-1-.01 Definitions

The following words and terms, as used in these rules, shall have the meaning hereinafter ascribed to them:

(a) "Department" shall mean the Department of Agriculture of the State of Georgia.
(b) "Commissioner" shall mean the Commissioner of Agriculture of the State of Georgia; or his designated agent.
(c) "Commission" shall mean each and every Agricultural Commodity Commission created under the Georgia Agricultural Commodities Promotion Act, O.C.G.A. 2-8-1, et seq.
(d) "Fiscal Period" shall be July 1 each year through June 30 of the following year.
(e) "Producer Members" shall mean the producer members of the Commission.
(f) "Commission Members" shall mean producer members or ex-officio members.
(g) "Ex-Officio Members" shall mean the Commissioner of Agriculture, the President of the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation, one member elected by the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, and one member elected by the Agriculture Committee of the Senate.
(h) "Executive Director, Coordinator, Executive Secretary, Manager and other titles" shall mean the managing employee of a Commission.
(i) "Employee" shall mean employee of a Commission.
(j) "Expenses" shall mean meals, lodging, mileage, and other expenses as described in the State travel policy.
(k) "Advisory Board, Subcommittee, Special Committee" shall mean a duly established or appointed subordinate committee of the Commission with duties and functions established by the Commission.
(l) "Marketing Order" shall mean an order issued pursuant to O.C.G.A. 2-8-1, et seq., prescribing rules and regulations governing the processing, distribution, or handling in any manner of any agricultural commodity within this state or establishing an assessment for financing the programs established.
(m) "Person" shall mean any association, individual, partnership, corporation or any other legal entity.
(n) "Chairman" shall mean a Commission member duly named, appointed or elected by the Commission.
(o) "Advisory Board Member" shall mean an individual duly appointed by the Commission Board to advise the Commission in the performance of its duties.

Rule 40-26-1-.02 Commission Policy

Nothing herein contained shall be construed to prohibit any Commission from adopting rules governing its own operation, provided such rules do not conflict with these rules and regulations.

Rule 40-26-1-.03 Meeting Minutes

A copy of the minutes of the Commission, Advisory Board, Subcommittee or Special Committee meetings, containing a listing of those in attendance and approved expenditures not approved in budget, shall be submitted to the Department.

Rule 40-26-1-.04 Budgets

An annual budget will be adopted by each Commission at the beginning of each fiscal period and amended thereafter as necessary. Such budget must show the estimated income as well as estimated expenditures by category for the period.

Rule 40-26-1-.05 Inventories

In order to maintain proper accountability for non-expendable property and equipment, each Commission must maintain an accurate and up-to-date inventory on all property owned by the Commission. A copy of the inventory should be kept in the Commission office and a copy sent to the Department for inclusion in their files.

Rule 40-26-1-.06 Contracts

Written contracts (agreements, leases) are generally required for services set forth in the Commission Marketing Order. All contracts must be submitted to the Commissioner prior to execution for approval. Any person contracting with the Commission shall furnish annually a schedule indicating any expenses paid for or reimbursed to any Commission member, employee or Advisory Board member.

Rule 40-26-1-.07 Funds

Any monies collected by the Commission for any purpose pursuant to the operation of the Commission shall be forwarded to the Commissioner for deposit into the Commission account. Funds so collected shall be deposited and disbursed in conformity with these rules and regulations prescribed by the Commissioner. Any funds received by the Commission, currency or checks, will be recorded by a cash receipt indicating amount received, from whom received, and for what purpose. Funds are to be deposited or forwarded to the Commissioner no less frequently than once per month. No bank account shall be established without approval of the Commission and authorization of the Commissioner.

Rule 40-26-1-.08 Surety Bonds

Any person who handles funds under this Chapter shall be bonded with good and sufficient surety in an amount determined by the Commissioner for the accounting of any and all funds coming into his hands, O.C.G.A. 2-8-10.

Rule 40-26-1-.09 Rent

Leases for office space, other property, and related services must include provisions for termination of such lease within a reasonable period of time in the event of disapproval of the Marketing Order by producers or failure to collect sufficient funds.

Rule 40-26-1-.10 Insurance

The Department will include the Commission under the Department's blanket performance bond and personal liability policy. However, the Commission is responsible for securing necessary coverage on all property (building, contents, equipment, vehicles, etc.) as deemed necessary by the Commission.

Rule 40-26-1-.11 Administrative Expenses

The Commissioner is authorized to expend funds, as approved by the Commission, for necessary administrative expenses incurred by the Commissioner in the administration and enforcement of the Commission's Marketing Order.

Rule 40-26-1-.12 Exceptions

In exceptional cases, if expenditures which are in conflict with or not specifically authorized by these rules and regulations are found necessary, they may be allowed if approved by the Commission and the Commissioner.

Rule 40-26-1-.13 Procedure

The Commissioner may require evidence of propriety with respect to items for payment.

Rule 40-26-1-.14 Bids

Whenever possible, the Commission shall be responsible for obtaining at least three bids for a service or product. The Commission shall endeavor to compare products with respect to quality, cost, performance, etc. There shall be no qualifications in the specifications for any contract which will work to the advantage of any particular bidder or any class of bidders. The Commission may utilize state purchase contracts when available for the purchase of equipment, automobiles, etc.

Rule 40-26-1-.15 Invoices

(1) Invoices should be rendered in the name of the Commission.
(2) Each invoice must have budget category to which the item shall be charged and the amount.
(3) Invoices with handwritten or typewritten billheads must be signed by the vendor or person furnishing the supplies or services.
(4) Each invoice must be dated and properly itemized before payment.
(5) Original invoices will be obtained whenever possible, or if an invoice should appear to be other than an original, the following statement shall be written on the invoice and signed by the Chairman or authorized employee: "This bill has been checked against our records and found to be the original one presented for payment and has not been previously paid."

Rule 40-26-1-.16 Payment of Claims

(1) In addition to the other controlling features set forth in these rules and regulations, limitations on payment of claims are made by:
(a) available funds for expenditures;
(b) budget authorization or authorization in minutes;
(c) reasonableness of expenditure.
(2) Proper documentation for each expenditure is required and should include the following information:
(a) a valid invoice or billing;
(b) fiscal period to which the invoice applies;
(c) name of Commission;
(d) month and day that expenses were incurred;
(e) name of person or company in whose favor the check is drawn;
(f) amount of check drawn.
(3) Each payment for an invoice, payroll and expense claim shall be personally approved by the Chairman or other person authorized in writing by the Chairman to approve an invoice.
(4) Invoices for items which do not conform to these rules and regulations or are not considered by the Commissioner as proper or necessary expenditures will not be paid. If there is any question on an invoice, the Commissioner should be contacted as to what action should be taken.

Rule 40-26-1-.17 Payrolls

(1) Payrolls for permanent employees shall be on a semi-monthly basis.
(2) Payrolls for other than permanent employees shall be for periods satisfactory to the Commission. Compensation for work performed on an hourly or daily basis shall be supported by detail of hours and days worked.
(3) For the purpose of computing payments for less than a full month, each employee shall be considered to work eight hours per day, five days each week and holidays shall be considered working days. Employees employed at a monthly rate, when paid semi-monthly, shall be paid one-half the monthly salary as of the fifteenth of each month and one-half the monthly salary at the end of each month. Salaries of employees appointed or separated during any calendar month shall be computed for the number of days actually worked in that particular month. However, the number of days actually worked shall not include either (1) a holiday which immediately precedes the first day worked, or (2) a holiday which immediately follows the last day worked.
(4) The Department is responsible for making the following payroll deductions: federal and state taxes, social security taxes, group insurance premiums when applicable and retirement contributions. Amounts deducted will be paid to the proper agencies by the Department. Employees will be supplied with reports, or forms, as required by law.

Rule 40-26-1-.18 Commission Personnel

(1) Unless the Commission has established a rule or policy to the contrary, the Chairman with the Commission's approval shall have the authority to hire employees, recommend salary and increases for employees and terminate employees.
(a) When employees are hired, the Commission must submit to the Department in writing:
1. effective date of employment;
2. starting salary;
3. social security number and copy of social security card;
4. address;
5. appropriate insurance, tax and retirement information.
(b) When an employee is to be terminated, the Commission must submit to the Department in writing:
1. effective date of termination;
2. balance of leave, both annual and sick, not taken.
(2) The permanent employment of any relative by blood or marriage (including wife, husband, mother, father, child, grandchild, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, whether by blood, adoption or in-law) of Commission members or present employees is prohibited.
(3) The appointment, performance and salary of employees shall be reviewed by the members of the Commission annually.
(4) The use of temporary help is a permissible expense and the cost should be charged to the proper budget category.
(a) Invoices from individuals for services rendered must include:
1. name of Commission;
2. description of work performed;
3. hours worked and rate of compensation;
4. signature of claimant;
5. address of claimant;
6. social security number.
(5) The payment of fees to personnel agencies for recruitment is prohibited.
(6) The Commission shall set policy for annual and sick leave that shall conform to the guidelines set forth by the State Personnel Board for state employees.
(7) The applicable provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act will apply to Commission employees.

Rule 40-26-1-.19 Relocation Expenses

Upon approval of the Commission, an employee may be reimbursed for certain relocation expense as set forth in current Office of Planning and Budget guidelines.

Rule 40-26-1-.20 Applicant Travel Expenses

Reimbursement will be allowed for travel expenses of applicants for Commission employment who are called for interviews if the Commission has determined that such expenditure is necessary to recruit qualified persons needed by the Commission. Reimbursement of interview expenses will not exceed those travel expenses set forth for Board members and employees.

Rule 40-26-1-.21 Conflicts of Interest

Commission employees are expected to devote their entire working hours to the job and to the business of the Commission. While there is no absolute prohibition of outside employment, any outside job must not interfere with complete attention to their responsibilities as a Commission employee. There are some outside employment situations which could result in a conflict of interest between two jobs. Example: If an employee is in a position where he determines what supplier will be engaged to furnish goods or services to a Commission and the employee has a substantial interest in the supplier's company which is selected, the employee is in an obvious conflict of interest situation.

(a) Commission employees are prohibited from engaging in other work during working hours or during periods of sick leave.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any employee to contract to buy or sell to the Commission any real or personal property, goods, services or a combination thereof when such purchase or sale would benefit or be likely to benefit such employee.
(c) No person who is a Commission member or employee shall engage in any transaction with any such Commission or other state agency or any such authority of which such person is a member or employee for personal gain.
(d) A Commission member or employee must not use their official position for personal gain.
(e) Commission property such as vehicles, equipment, materials and employee services, shall be used only for official Commission business.
(f) No gifts, gratuities, favors or social invitations should be accepted where they may be intended to compromise the integrity of the member, employee or Commission.
(g) In addition to the prohibitions set forth in O.C.G.A. 45-10-22(a)(2), whenever any Commission considers the transaction of business with any business entity and, at the time of such consideration, a member(s) of such Commission is also a fiduciary of the business entity in question, such Commission member-fiduciary shall not take part in any discussions, formally or informally, with any other member(s) of the Commission regarding the proposed business transaction; seek to influence in any manner the vote of the Commission with regard to the proposed business transaction; vote as a member of the Commission on the proposed business transaction; or thereafter play any role whatsoever as a member of the Commission with regard to the business transaction between the Commission and the business entity of which the member is a fiduciary.

Rule 40-26-1-.22 Travel Authorization

(1) The Chairman shall determine a maximum reasonable representation for meetings and events and appoint board members and/or employees to attend.
(2) Employees and Commission members required to travel in the performance of official duties and entitled to reimbursement for actual expenses incurred shall receive authorization from the Commission Chairman or designated employee prior to performing the travel.
(3) Blanket in-state routine travel authorization may be granted for employees.
(4) All out-of-state travel shall be specifically authorized by the Chairman prior to each trip. All requests for out-of-state travel will be made in writing on forms provided for that purpose by the Department. Travel requests should be submitted well in advance. (5) Information to be provided for travel authorization should include:
(a) destination;
(b) date and duration of trip;
(c) documentation of most economical mode of travel;
(d) estimated cost;
(e) general purpose of the travel.

Rule 40-26-1-.23 Travel Advances

Reasonable amounts may be advanced for travel expenses upon approval of the Chairman in accordance with current state travel policy. Appropriate forms will be supplied for this purpose by the Department.

Rule 40-26-1-.24 Meals for Meetings and Guests

(1) Board members and designated employees, when necessary and justification exists, may be reimbursed for group meals for themselves and business clients and employees to breakfast, lunch or dinner for the purpose of transacting business in accordance with current state travel policy.
(2) Incidental expenses in conjunction with meetings are permissible. Examples of permissible incidental expenses include, but are not limited to:
(a) projection equipment and screen rental;
(b) room rental;
(c) room use charge.
(3) Any Commission sponsored meals, reception, coffee breaks, etc. must be approved by the Commission.

Rule 40-26-1-.25 Registration Fees

Registration for conventions, meetings, classes, dues for professional organizations, etc.:

(a) Shall be approved by the Commission on an individual basis;
(b) If paid by claimant who is claiming reimbursement for a registration fee, etc. on a travel expense voucher, a receipt or check substantiating payment must be attached:
(c) Cost of meals which are indicated on registration form are acceptable if within reason.

Rule 40-26-1-.26 Expense Claim Form

(1) All expense claims shall be submitted and reimbursed in accordance with the current state travel policy. Expenses claimed must be incurred for Commission business and shall not contain expenses submitted to or paid in total or in part by another person.
(2) Headquarters for Commission employees will be the official business address of the Commission, unless otherwise specified Official headquarters for producer members will be their home address. Each member and employee, when making a claim for travel expenses, must show his/her headquarters on the expense claim.
(3) No more than actual fare on any transportation service shall be allowed. All Commission members and employees should make efforts to obtain lowest fares available on all modes of transportation.
(4) The approved travel request form and a copy of the flight coupon should be attached to the travel expense claim.

Rule 40-26-1-.27 Commission Owned Vehicles

Commission vehicles are to be used for official Commission business. Commission vehicles provided to an employee for commuting as well as any other personal use are considered a fringe benefit by the Internal Revenue Service. The employee is required to maintain records to indicate personal use and business use of the automobile. Employee is requested to provide the total business miles driven and total personal miles driven (all commuting between home and place of business as well as other personal use is considered personal use mileage). The fair market value of a Commission vehicle will be determined by using IRS provided lease values based on the year, make and model of the vehicle. This information will be submitted monthly on a reporting form supplied by the Department.

Rule 40-26-1-.28 Repealed

Rule 40-26-1-.29 Repealed

Rule 40-26-1-.30 Repealed

Rule 40-26-1-.31 Per Diem and Expenses

Commission and Advisory Board Member Per Diem and Expenses should be handled the same and should follow IRS guidelines:

(a) The daily per diem rate shall be set by each Commission not to exceed the per diem allowed members of the Georgia General Assembly.
(b) Commission and Advisory Board members shall be entitled to a daily per diem and expenses when engaged in official Commission business as a designated representative appointed by the Commission Chairman.